Worldly Wisdom Blog

This blog welcomes the intellectually curious and imaginatively adventurous. It derives in part from the book Worldly Wisdom: Great Books and the Meanings of Life but goes beyond the purposes of that book. It explores the meanings of life in classic writings not represented in Worldly Wisdom and also includes occasional reflections on culture and politics, along with tales of travel, fiction and non-fiction.

A Bon Vivant’s Dream

You might think of April in Paris, as the song of that name says, adorned with “chestnuts in blossom” and bursting with the “charm of spring.” But the reality is often closer to T.S. Eliot’s lines, “April is the cruelest month,” wrenching “dull roots” from the “dead...

On Parole in Aspen

Aspen had been a rough and tumble town once, roiling with grizzled silver miners digging their way to imagined riches. And some had succeeded. Fifteen thousand people lived there by the 1890s. It had culture, too. An opera house and a grand hotel, both built by a...

Ciela

CIÉLA It was after midnight when he slouched into the hotel on CopacabanaBeach. The long day of meetings in São Paulo had labored on through dinner. He’d vowed to take the half-hour flight to Rio afterwards, whatever the time, just to escape the deadly corporate...

Hemingway’s Ghost

James Sloan Allen “But this is how Paris was in the early days when we were very poor and very happy.” The book flapped shut, and Burton Sharp let it drop over on his stomach as he lay in bed beside his sleeping wife, Sylvia. His head sank back into the pillow. He...

The Dancer With The Fish-shaped Eyes

It was five years ago that I had first come to Madras. And I had liked it. Yes, it had the same air of restrained chaos that typifies Indian cities. Its streets and sidewalks teemed with people amid streams of honking vehicles, gypsy-like women clutching infants...

RAFFLES

RAFFLES by James Sloan Allen Stuart Murphy swung his car onto the highway, joining the daily throng into the city. Horns honked. Fumes swirled. Traffic crawled. He peered emptily through the windshield. “The world is too much with us,” he sighed; “late and soon,...